For Real?

I’m a girly-girl. There. I said it. I like to think that I’m a tiny bit tomboy, but let’s face it, I’m not. I like Mary Kay and all that goes with it. I adore shoes, and I love clothes. Most of all, I love handbags and I’ve had a particular one on my wish list for over a decade. It’s one of those things that would be nice to have, but my budget has never agreed.

Imagine my surprise a few months ago when a precious friend stopped by my house with a huge gift sack in tow. Inside the sack was my wish list vintage purse! You see, my friend is a woman of God who is a perfect model for how we’re to bless others when God calls us to do so. I’ve watched her for years and have even been a part of some of her acts of kindness toward others. But this time I was on the receiving end, and I was speechless.

With my treasure on my shoulder, I did my routine girly-girl thing – went to get my nails done. As usual, there was a lot of chatter in a language I do not comprehend and have learned to tune out. So imagine my surprise when I realized that the chatter appeared to be about me! I watched their eyes as they would look at each other and then look at my purse. I sat it down to fish out my wallet and out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of them nonchalantly rub the outside corner of my purse. Our eyes locked. She smiled. The other girl mumbled in their mother tongue. And then I caught on. I smiled and said, “yes, it’s real.” One grinned at the other with satisfaction, leading me to believe they had conflicting views on my bag’s authenticity.

Once in the car, I was embarrassed that my special gift caused that kind of scrutiny. Did they think I wasn’t capable of owning it? Did others passing by at the store look at me with judgment? Was I perceived to be something I’m not? Forget the purse — am I authentic!? After satan was done tormenting me with questions, I sensed that God was ready to use this as a teachable moment. My heart heard Him ask, “Are YOU for real, Barbara?” What? Why wouldn’t I be? Hello! I live and breathe God and church and reading Christian fiction! How could my heavenly Father ask me that?

Well, after I got over my sassy self, I pondered on His question for several hours. I knew He’d asked because He loves me and wants me to slow down and look at my life from time to time.

Is the face I present to the world really who I am on the inside?

Do I live for God 24/7 or do I take “time outs” for self-indulgence in things I know isn’t bringing Him glory?

Do I walk the walk when I teach about things of God to my Sunday school class and when counseling others and when writing devotionals? How about at work? At the gym? On Facebook?

Girlfriends, my “for real?” time with God was priceless. I think we all need a moment of self-assessment sometimes, don’t you? Life can get so crazy that we can end up off track and in a rut. It happens! But can you see the beauty in serving a Savior who cares enough to have a chat with us about our daily routine? He’s in the details. He cares. He’s not judging. He’s just doing what a good parent or friend would do – care enough to ask the hard questions while helping us with the answers.

So…how are you today? Are you for real?

About Barbara Oden

Barbara Oden, a freelance writer and speaker, started writing in elementary school. One of her stories in second grade was sent to Highlight's magazine by her school principle. Since then, she's been hooked! Barbara embraces the fact that she is God's work in progress--in a constant state of growth and change. Published in four anthologies, she uses her sense of humor and personal life experiences to show women they don't have to be a slave to their past. She encourages them to give their hurts over to God and then demonstrates how to get up, dust off, and live life as God intended. Living in the Texas county which hosts the annual Mosquito Festival (they're coming, so we might as well celebrate their arrival), Barbara enjoys cooking, pampering her dachshund Matilda, and texting her son and new daughter-in-law who live inthe Dallas area. Most of all, she enjoys her daily adventures with Jesus and serving in her home church. Barbara invites you to visit her website at
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